Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will speak with U.S. President Joe Biden today amid continuing fallout from the death of the Keystone XL pipeline project.

The phone call, Biden’s first with a foreign leader since taking office this week, comes as the new administration turns its focus to the United States’s economic recovery.

It also comes with parts of Canada up in arms over Biden’s Day 1 executive order rescinding permits for the US$8-billion cross-border pipeline expansion.

Biden believes a brisk economic recovery doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.

“His record shows the American people that he’s committed to clean energy jobs, to jobs that are not only good, high-paying jobs, union jobs, but ones that are also good for our environment. He thinks it’s possible to do both,” Psaki said.

Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama, who blocked the project in 2015, and as president he still does, she added.

ALSO READ: TC Energy cutting more than 1,000 Keystone XL construction jobs as Biden pulls permit

“He had opposed the Keystone pipeline … and he’s been consistent in his view and he was delivering on a promise he made to the American public during the campaign.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is among those urging Trudeau to take Biden to task over the decision and to “respond with consequences” if it’s not reversed.

Kenney and other champions of the project, including Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., argue it has changed significantly since the Obama administration cancelled it five years ago.

Trudeau held a call with all the premiers Thursday that included a briefing from Hillman, according to a readout from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The prime minister reiterated his disappointment with the decision on Keystone XL, and emphasized that the federal government has engaged with the new administration in support of the project,” it said.

A federal official familiar with the call, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the details, said Kenney and several others urged Trudeau to take a hard line with Biden.

Trudeau, however, insisted Canada had done everything it could to change his mind, and called on the premiers to take the same united, “Team Canada” approach they did with Biden’s predecessor.

As word emerged this week of the project’s imminent demise, Calgary-based owner TC Energy revealed plans to spend US$1.7 billion on a solar, wind and battery-powered operating system for the pipeline to ensure it achieves net-zero emissions by 2030.

Kenney says Wednesday’s decision came “without even giving Canada a chance to communicate,” although Hillman insists she has been in near-constant discussions with the Biden team ever since May, when they promised to cancel the project.

Biden’s decision has critics in the U.S. Republican party as well: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, calls it a job-killing “virtue signal” to climate activists.

Trudeau is also likely to voice worries about Biden’s Buy American plan to ensure U.S. workers and manufacturers are the primary beneficiaries of his economic recovery strategy.

Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris are scheduled to receive a briefing today on that recovery effort before the president makes public remarks on their plans.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Joe BidenJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

Ashcroft RCMP are warning businesses to be aware of a suspect passing counterfeit $50 and $100 bills in the Ashcroft and Cache Creek area. (Photo credit: Stock image)
Counterfeit money being circulated in Ashcroft/Cache Creek area

Police are warning local businesses to be on the alert for counterfeit cash

The former Ashcroft Elementary School building, which closed as a school in 2015 and is now operated as the Ashcroft HUB, pictured during Skip’s Run, June 2017. The board of education of SD74 voted on March 2 to sell the property to the society for a ‘nominal fee’. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
School district votes to sell Ashcroft HUB for ‘nominal fee’ to HUB Society

Amendment to motion seeks to keep school district’s financial interests in property secure

Cache Creek council say that budget meetings have to take place before a public meeting about the fate of the pool — first promised in May 2019 — can be held. (Photo credit: Journal files)
No date set for public meeting to discuss fate of Cache Creek pool

Council says public meeting cannot take place until budget discussions have been held

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

(File photo)
Kamloops Mountie bitten while arresting woman

The assault on March 1 is the latest in a string of incidents that have left local officers injured

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read